Glastonbury is back with a bang after an Olympic/field recovery based hiatus. Organisers have truly wheeled out the big guns with Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys and Mumford and Sons headlining the iconic Pyramid Stage across three mammoth days of music.
The sheer number of stages at Glastonbury means the festival can put on an intimidating number of acts and this year the organisers seem to have made an attempt to shrug of the middle-class and middle-aged festival tag by putting on some interesting artists.
The main stage packs in all the big names, as well as putting a lot of faith in relative newcomers Laura Mvula and the unavoidable Haim. Kenny Rogers takes to the stage to satisfy the old timers, hopefully a potential collaboration with fellow main-stager Dizzee Rascal could be on the cards? Ever the cynic, my personal opinion is that the three headliners are a tactical choice by Eavis and the gang to lure in as many people as possible. Rolling Stones are there to appease the older crowd and reinforce the middle-age identity. Arctic Monkeys popularity was at it’s peak around the release of their first two albums which were released in 2006 and 2007 respectively. (That’s seven years ago…) Then we have Mumford and Sons, the rustic and ‘real’ folk-pop by numbers band, with their banjos and fancy dress farmer outfits. This selection is appealing to the kids of today and completes the cynical view of the trio of headliners. Onto the good news!
It’s nice to see true quality being acknowledged with Portishead headlining the Other Stage along with other quality bands such as: The xx, Smashing Pumpkins, Foals, Alt-J and, erm, The Hives.
The John Peel Stage is pretty much the Radio 1 playlist since 2011 with Hurts, Johnny Marr and The Courteeners sharing the stage with the interesting trio of Jessie Ware, Tyler, the Creator and James Blake. The Silver Stage hosts pretty much all the mainstream house/electro buzz acts of the current age with Disclosure, SBTKT, Bashmore, TEED and Gold Panda bagging slots with Nas as a curveball headliner. This nod towards the current tastemakers in music is the shot in the arm that Glasto needed and that many festivals are lacking.
Reading/Leeds is one such festival who are lagging behind in the race for wristbands. Their line-ups for the past few years have disappointed loyal fans and potential festival-goers and as such have allowed smaller, more niche festivals such as Beacons and Kendal Calling to flourish and thrive as they take a slice of the Northern festival market. Biffy Clyro have clawed their way up festival ladder in their long career, you have to say they deserve it. Well done lads. Green Day take the second headline spot, although with frontman Billie-Joe Armstrong in rehab after a alcoholic meltdown it remains to be seen how that slot will pan out. Then it’s Eminem, who was good but hasn’t released anything decent for a long time. I feel it’s an attempt to drag in a different crowd especially with Chase and Status on before Mr Mathers.
BBC 1Xtra have a stage this year in an attempt to broaden the appeal of the festival and branch out from it’s typical rock-based menu. UK lads Wiley and Devlin are the first names announced for that stage. The most baffling selection of the weekend is surely Bastille followed by Major Lazer and Diplo’s party squad. Then A$AP Rocky. Then Skrillex. A nice varied selection and a lurch in a new direction for dual site weekender.
Bestival’s reputation as one of the best festivals in the UK continues to grow with the announcements of this years headline acts. Elton John, Snoop Dogg and M.I.A. take to the stage. While not the biggest and best names of 2013, the rest of the line-up is made up of bold and varied choices. Squarepusher and Drenge share the weekend with John Cooper Clarke and Dexys. The selection of DJ’s and producers is among the best around: Cyril Hahn, Ben UFO, Carl Cox, Bashmore, Maya Jane Coles, Joy Orbison, Bondax, the list goes on. This varied approach and a constant movement away from the traditional ‘bands-on-a-stage’ format is a welcome evolution.
T in the Park have eschewed their rock roots and picked Rihanna to headline along with Mumford and Sons and The Killers. They do have the interesting selection of Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean but these are spoilt by Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Beady Eye.
Posh festival Latitude have gone for Bloc Party, Foals and Kraftwerk with a special 3D concert to headline the Suffolk weekend.
V Fest is the unashamed pop festival and you don’t get more pop than Beyonce. This is a good headline choice to sell a bucket load of tickets. Kings of Leon also headline. They’ve also got Kendrick but he shares the stage with the X-Factor winner guy and Scouting For Girls.
So that’s your round-up of the big boys so far. The times seems to be changing for festivals and it’s a welcome change on the whole. Names are always being announced so big developments are always round the corner.By Joni Roome